Nomo homage to the Ullambana Assembly of Buddhas
Thus I have heard, at one time, the Buddha dwelt at
Shravarsti in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary.
Mahamaudgalyayana had just obtained the six
penetrations and wished to cross over his father and mother to repay their
kindness for raising him.
Thus, using his way eye, he regarded the world and saw
that his deceased mother had been born among the hungry ghosts, having
neither food nor drink, she was but skin and bones.
Mahaudgalayana felt deep pity and sadness, filled a
bowl with food and went to provide for his mother. She got the bowl,
screened it with her left hand, and with her right hand made a fist of food.
But, before it entered her mouth, it turned into burning coals which could
not be eaten.
Mahamaudgalyayana called out and wept sorrowfully, and
hastened to return to the Buddha to set forth all of this.
The Buddha said, "your mother's offenses are deep and
firmly rooted. You alone do not have enough power. Although your filial
sounds move heaven and earth, the heaven spirits, the earth spirits, twisted
demons, and those outside the way, Brahmans, and the four heavenly king
gods, are also without sufficient strength. The awesome spiritual power of
the assembled Sangha of the ten directions is neceessary for the liberation
to be attained.
I shall now speak a dharma of rescue, which causes all
those in difficulty to leave worry and suffering, and to eradicate obstacles
The Buddha told Maudgalyayana: "The fifteenth day of
the seventh month is the Pravarana day for the assembled Sangha of the ten
directions. For the sake of fathers and mothers of seven generations past,
as well as for fathers and mothers of the present who are in distress, you
should prepare an offering of clean basins full of hundreds of flavors and
the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamps, candles, beds,
and bedding, all the best of the world, to the greatly virtuous assembled
Sangha of the ten directions. On that day, all the holy assembly, whether in
the mountains practicing dhyana samadhi, or obtaining the four fruits of the
way, or walking beneath trees, or using the independence of the six
penetrations, to teach and transform sound hearers and those enlightened to
conditions. Or provisionally manifesting as bhikshus when in fact they are
great Bodhisattvas on the tenth ground--all complete in pure precepts and
oceanlike virtue of the holy way--should gather in a great assembly and all
of like mind receive the pravarana food.
If one thus makes offerings to these Provarana Sangha,
one's present father and mother, parents of seven generations, as well as
the six kinds of close relatives, will escape from the three paths of
sufferings. And at that time attain release. Their clothing and food will
spontaneously appear. If the parents are still alive, they will have wealth
and blessings for a hundred years. Parents of seven generations will be born
in the heavens. Transformationally born, they will independently enter the
celestial flower light, and experience limitless bliss.
At that time the Buddha commanded the assembled Sangha
of the ten directions to recite mantras and vows for the sake of the donor's
family, for parents of seven generations.
After practicing dhyana concentration, they then may
accept the food. When first receiving the basin, place it before the Buddha
in the stupa. When the assembled sangha has finished the mantras and vows,
then they may accept it.
At that time the bhikshu Maudgalyayana and the
assembly of great Bodhisattvas were all extremely delighted and the
sorrowful sound of Maudgalyayana's crying ceased.
At that time Maudgalyayana's mother obtained
liberation from one kalpa of suffering as a hungry ghost.
Maudgalyayana addressed the Buddha and said, "this
disciple's parents have received the power of the merit and virtue of the
triple jewel, because of the awesome spiritual power of the assembled Sangha.
If in the future the Buddha's disciples practice
filiality by offering up the Ullambana basins, will they be able to cross
over their present fathers and mothers as well as those of seven generations
The Buddha replied "good indeed, I am happy you asked
that question. I just wanted to speak about that and now you have also asked
Good man, if bhikshus, bhikshunis, kings, crown
princes, great ministers, great officials, cabinet members, the hundreds of
officers, and the tens of thousands of citizens wish to practice
compassionate filial conduct, for the sake of the parents who bore them, as
well as for the sake of fathers and mothers of seven lives past, on the
fifteenth day of the seventh month, the day of the buddhas' delight, the day
of the Sangha's Pravarana, they all should place hundreds of flavors of
foods in the Ullambana basins, and offer them to the Pravarana Sangha of the
They should vow to cause the length of life of the
present father and mother to reach a hundred years without illness, without
sufferings, afflictions, or worries, and also vow to cause seven generations
of fathers and mothers to leave the sufferings of the hungry ghosts, to be
born among men and gods, and to have blessings and bliss without limit.
The Buddha told all the good men and good women,
"those disciples of the Buddha who cultivate filial conduct should in
thought after thought, constantly recall their present fathers and mothers
when making offerings, as well as the fathers and mothers of seven lives
past. Every year, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, they should
always, out of filial compassion, recall their parents who bore them and
those of seven lives past, and for their sakes perform the offering of the
Ullambana basin to the Buddha and the Sangha and thus repay the loving
kindness of the parents who raised and nourished them. All Buddhas'
disciples should respectfully receive this dharma."
At that time the bhikshu Maudgalyayana and the
four-fold assembly of disciples, hearing what the Buddha said, practiced it
End of the Buddha speaks of Ullambana Sutra
True words for repaying parents' kindness.
Na mwo mi li dwo dwo pe ye swo he.